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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Lack of competition killing European TV revenue

Other countries complain about the size of the TV deals that the Premier League gets but it is the most competitive major league in the world and that is what appeals to viewers.

Who wants to watch a French league where PSG finish 31 points ahead of the team in second place, it's hardly a competition is it. People don't want to watch an event they know the result of before it starts, they want to see a contest, not a procession.

Juventus have just won their fifth straight Serie A title, this time by 9 points and their second straight double. Last season they won by 17 points, in 2013/14 by 17 points, 2012/13 by 8 points and 2011/12 by 4 points. the gap has widened in that league with the majority shareholding in AC Milan to be sold to a Chinese consortium in the hope that they can grow and compete. At the moment there is no competition to Juventus.

In Spain it is a two horse race with Atletico always there and thereabouts, but as for the rest of the league they aren't in the same competition. People will watch Barcelona and Real Madrid because of their name but nobody else. The big two were looking to create their own TV deal insisting as they are the only two teams people want to watch they should get most of the money. Again that tells you a lack of competition isn't exciting.

The Bundesliga has been shown in the USA for the first time on Fox Sports and it has been a disappointment because again there is no competition, it's a one team league. Bayern Munich won their fourth consecutive Bundesliga title, this time by 8 points and the Americans aren't interested. Last season they won by 10 points, in 2013/14 by 19 points and in 2011/12 by 25 points. they have done the double in three of the last four seasons.

Cheap ticket prices may fill their ground but it is TV money that runs the game and there is no excitement generated for the TV audience.

Compare all that to the Premier League where Leicester City have just won, where Tottenham improved dramatically, where a different side has won the title in each of the last four seasons, where a different side has produced the Golden Boot winner and a variety of teams make the Cup Final, you have genuine competition. The results therefore matter, it creates excitement, it stimulates emotion and that the TV companies will pay for. That is what people want to watch so the Premier League gets the cash others are jealous of.

The Premier League appreciate they have a product that people want to see, they appreciate that the money has to be spread around and under the new TV deal and with international broadcasting rights a relegated side can expect to earn around £35 million more than a club like AC Milan.

If other countries want a share of the pie then they have to put systems in place that make their leagues more competitive, but the bigger teams will campaign against that. they want guaranteed money and only look at themselves, which is actually shooting themselves in the foot.

We get talk of European leagues and breakaway leagues because Bayern Munich, PSG, Juventus have no competition. They simply want to guarantee their income by trying to create a league against big teams, destroying their own national leagues in the process. They would become second class citizens in that world.

The Premier League doesn't have the problems they have created for themselves over the years which short-sighted policies. How you turn that all around is going to take a lot of thinking, a European league isn't the answer.



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